Enjoy the final poem selected by author Joseph O. Legaspi from his new book Threshold.
Being one of five children, I cherished my time alone with my mother. I liked to think I was her favorite, that her spending time with me was intentional. She would tell everyone that she was taking me to help her with her errands, but then she’d steal me away into a cavernous movie theater—like being inside of a whale—where we luxuriate in the air-conditioned darkness, shielded from the equatorial sun. I loved being there with my mother, in another world projected in light, yet a whole world of our own.
– Joseph O. Legaspi
At the Movies with My Mother
Once again my mother and I have snuck out
to a movie theater, leaving behind my siblings
bruising themselves like ill-carted fruits on
a long journey and my father who remains
to be seen. In the dark and hush, we sit with
our hands greasy with the oil, sea salt, and garlic
of our fried peanuts while the flickering screen
casts larger lives animated by distant puppeteers.
We’re stowaways aboard a ship, I’d fantasize
of our secret excursion (perhaps not so secret).
Or Pinocchio, in search of his kind papa, finds
him in the belly of Monstro the Whale. Rarely
do we watch a film I wanted. My mother favors
tearjerkers in which women suffer in martyrdom,
fall from high grace, seek revenge, and reap moral
redemption. In this communal, cavernous space
celluloid glow outlines each solitary audience,
embraced by air-conditioning, drowsing into
forgetfulness. I see my mother’s eyes are fires
that could burn the unearthly core of a whale.